Last year, the Oscars tried a thank you scroll along the bottom of the screen to encourage winners to move away from deadly boring, breathless-stream-of-appreciation speeches.
It didn’t work.
But this year, we might finally get something different.
“I have never seen actors and artists be so engaged in politics and want to speak out,” said Justin Mikita. He and his business partner, Todd Hawkins, connect celebrities to social causes through their company Hawkins Mikita.
- What the political climate means for award shows like the Oscars
- Will Hollywood write a new script for the Trump era?
- 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Oscars
- The economy of the red carpet
Since the election, they said their phone has been ringing and ringing and ringing. Celebs want a cause. They want to help change things. But the causes they choose to champion aren’t just a matter of what’s tugging at their heartstrings that day. For many, it’s a well-considered business decision.
The first step, Mikita said, is understanding what the celebrity is passionate about. Then, Hawkins said, they have to really consider the brand. You don’t want a cause that’ll alienate the fans. After that, they try to find a cause that’ll resonate with their audience.
“It’s about using that platform and leveraging that platform in a way that makes sense,” Hawkins said. (Trying to rally a bunch of teenage fans around Social Security reform might be a tough sell.)
Sometimes the trick is getting a celebrity client to home in on just one thing.
“As a brand, you need to make sure you are focused and that fans understand your message,” Makita said.
If a pairing works, it can be good business for both.
“Celebrities give causes exposure,”said Jo Piazza, author of “Celebrity, Inc.” “And causes give celebrities their humanity and likeability.”
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.